Close Look: Vetements

Vetements @ Club 21

By Raiment Young

The only way to see if the unceasing rave for Vetements makes any sense is to have an actual look at the clothes. Last week, as part of Club 21’s introduction to the store’s autumn/winter 2016 collections, a little sake bash was held at its Four Seasons location. Two tweeny models were doing their rounds, wrapped in Craig Green, but the guests were not seduced. Instead, quite a few were entranced by a section at the women’s wear side of the 2-wing store, now dedicated to Vetements.

Coming from the Hilton Shopping Gallery side, I, too, was intrigued the moment I passed the right end of the store. It did not look like its usual set-up; it was not soinee enough. It won’t take more than a second to register the street vibes of the clothes. You would have thought it was Stussy gone bezerk until the eyes spotted some pieces that were without doubt from Vetements’s fall collection. My excitement was, however, mixed with dread—the dread of being let down by designs that won’t live up to the outburst of hype.

Inside, the potential visual effects of these clothes for both sexes made me think of my own insecurity towards anything extreme and illogical. Could these garments, huge and, at first sight, size-indeterminate, underscore aging rather than defy it? Nary a wisp that suggested the body-flattering tailoring that can be deemed sharp and elegant, these duds looked like they could only titivate the very young. Let it be known, I am no kid, and I have no desire to look like one. Also, I am not a hip-hop artiste. Nor a fashionista drunk on streetwear.

While I visually examined every piece of the Club 21’s small buy of one of Paris’s biggest new brands, I touched only one item: an oversized T-shirt with shoulders that would not be out of place in an American football match. What surprised me were the shoulder pads. Loosely affixed under the shoulder, they looked like those detachable ones from the polyester crepe auntie blouses of the ’80s. On the hanger, it would not sit without flopping forward. As I looked closer, I saw that the tee’s exaggerated shape is made pronounced by iron-on interfacing applied to the underside of the yoke. Clearly, to heave, no stiffening of the shoulders is required.

As I left, I kept thinking of Claude Montana. Those old enough would know what I mean. But my thoughts were then interrupted by a magazine editor I know. “What have you seen,” she asked, as chirpy as a merbok. Vetements, I said, but, as you may have guessed, not vehemently.

Photo: Galerie Gombak